Arson in New Jersey | What You Should Know

Arson is committed in the event that an individual sets a fire or causes an explosion. Arson is a very serious crime that can not only result in property damage but can also put the lives of others at risk. The harsh penalties that accompany arson offenses reflect the severity of the charges. Read on and reach out to our firm today to discuss your legal options with a skilled and dedicated Bergen County criminal defense attorney. We are on your side.

What are the different degrees of arson in New Jersey?

New Jersey identifies four degrees of arson with first-degree arson being the most severe crime. A conviction will result in imprisonment of up to 20 years. First-degree charges refer to cases involving arsonists for hire usually noticed in matters of insurance fraud; it also automatically applies when an arsonist targets a church, mosque, synagogue, or another house of worship. Just like assault, arson can be categorized as aggravated when the offense is deemed more severe, in which case the arson is in the second degree. Third-degree arson involves recklessly starting a fire with the intent to harm or destroy a structure. Fourth-degree arson occurs when the defendant is an official or someone who has a legal duty to prevent the fire and fails to do so. To learn more about arson in New Jersey, it is in your best interest to reach out to our firm today. Our legal team can help you no matter what you are facing.

What are the penalties for arson?

The exact consequences of arson will rely on the circumstances in the case. Possible penalties include incarceration, fines, and liability for the costs associated with emergency service personnel dispatched to respond to the fire.

  • First-degree arson: First-degree arson is punishable by a prison sentence ranging from 10-20 years. If the arson involves a place of worship, the penalty is 15 years without the possibility of parole.
  • Second-degree arson or aggravated arson: Punishable by a prison term ranging from 5-10 years.
    • Aggravated arson is subject to the No Early Release Act (NERT), a sentencing provision in which the convicted defendant is instructed to serve a minimum term of 85% of the judge-imposed sentence.
  • Third-degree arson: Punishable by a prison term of 5 years.
  • Fourth-degree arson: Punishable by 18 months in prison.

To learn more about the consequences of arson, or if you were charged, reach out to our firm today to obtain competent legal representation. We are here to help.

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Contact the Law Office of Carl Spector for an experienced New Jersey criminal defense attorney who will aggressively fight for you. When your future is on the line, don’t settle for less than the best possible legal representation. 

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